Get to Know Your Ancestors

by J.D. Shaeffer

My dear reader, I sincerely hope you have found some value in these small articles I’ve been writing. I admit to having no expertise in these matters of religion, philosophy, or the realities of our lives. I merely give my knowledge based upon experience. Thus, please take everything I say with a grain of salt, and study out what I have to say. Please don’t assume the whole truth is here or anywhere else. My invitation is for you to go through that very difficult and extremely rewarding process called studying.

Now, what I have to say is of most simple doctrine and application. We are all sons or daughters of parents, who in turn are just the same. We see therefore, that we have grandparents, great grandparents, great great grandparents, and so on. This isn’t something hard to grasp, it’s simply our ancestry, who have lived and died before us.

In 3 Nephi 25, Jesus quotes Malachi, and states,

“And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers,”

This “turn[ing] of the heart of the fathers to the children” is of some interest. Does it infer that our ancestors are interested in what we have to say and do? Perhaps so. Therefore, this “turn[ing] of the heart of the children to their fathers” would infer the same thing – that we become more interested in our ancestors.

This scripture is of great worth because I feel we must be active participants in the lives of those who came before us. This means finding out about them, getting their stories, knowing when they lived, and what it means for us. Whatever it may be, I feel an immense sense of warmth when I’m a part of those histories. I like it a lot.

For example, I recently discovered something about my great great grandfather, John Walter Johnson. His wife recalled the times they had to cross a little river on occasion by horse-pulled wagon with him and their kids. The river was deep enough to the point where their wagon would start to float, acting as a poor little boat until the wheels would touch the bottom again. She says that Walter would laugh and laugh, not fearing at all the safety of anyone, while she herself was worried sick. His story of immense optimism truly inspires me to take that part of his character and apply it in my life.
I love my ancestors and I’m inspired by their lives of hard work and grit. I know you can be inspired by them too.